Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sharing Knowledge and exposing to Web

We are in Department of Chemical Engineering University of Moratuwa doing great academic and industrial research projects. We have our own limitations with financial support comparing to some foreign university research budgets. But we are doing our best to deliver our professional works to world.

But sharing student and there research information is lacking. Today world is getting closing and we can share information with people anywhere in world. WWW is great innovation in previous century and it is becoming stronger in this century. In 1990s .com boom explore the business potential of WWW. Before 1990s scientist established proper way to share research information among each other.

Let us found out way to share our information at least now. I know there is academic paper publications, conferences and many more tools to share our research activities. But why we go behind them and waiting their approval for publishing them. They can reject our whole research publication because of single grammatical mistake or spelling mistake. But according to my view we do not mind about petty mistake and allow that idea to play major role in Industry.

As example if a student come up with proper alternative system. We need such ideas with out any delay and make them to happen in industry. I think rather going behind foreign scientists to approve our research papers we can share it among each other and come up with industrial scale solutions.

I think building up chemical engineers’ network on web as alternative to break barriers in information sharing. I have build up chemical engineers’ network and it contains more than 200 chemical engineers and we can share our research and industrial knowledge among each other.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Guru Upahara

Today we pay our great gratitude for our dearest lecture panel because we are about to leave our department. From 2nd of June we will finish our 4 year long journey. Iran Watapotha presented very emotional speech on behalf of every student. I could not explain my feelings when he talked about our great relationship in between lectures and students. The relationship between student and lecturers are very unique and I suggest our university community to imitate our relationship model.

We have very talented and young lecture panel; with foreign industrial and academic exposure. They delivered their maximum performance to educate and guide us to become a graduate with strong academic background. We realized their wisdom which they gradually gain in their higher studies while listing them in lecture hours. Actually it is more than enough and it is their duty as lectures. But they did not stop on that point. They work further to enhance our quality and relevance to industrial world.

We can be proud of our lecture panel. Not because of that they are from world top universities. Not because of their wealth and fleet of brand new cars. But because of their generosity, humanity and actual dedication towards us.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our Bacth Mates infront of New Building

Photo credit: Asela de Silva
Design by : Bathiya Wijesekara

we do not want to do financial analysis when we see dreams

In 1897 a Canadian-born chemist Herbert Henry Dow extracted bromine from brine solution using his newly find out method. Initially the company depended on bleach and potassium bromide which were extracted. But now Dow Chemical is operating with seven major operating segments.

In 2007

It was a company with

Revenue = ▲$53.513 Billion USD (2007)

Net income = ▲$2.887 Billion USD (2007) [This is equal to a half of Sri Lankan export earning]

Employees 46,000 (2007)

In every Sri Lankan Salterns brine solution is pumped back to ocean. But it is very valuable input for chemical industry and we are neglecting a huge profit making potential. Brine is electrolyzed in the chloralkali process to make sodium hydroxide, chlorine and hydrogen, as well as the hypochlorite and chlorate salts on an industrial scale.

You can imagine the wealth we can earn with this chemicals using following figures

Sodium Hydroxide –

50lb Bag of Sodium Hydroxide PELS can be sell in range of 94 $ (usd) [ aprox :Rs 9600]

55lb Bag of Sodium Hydroxide Flake can be sell in range of 103 $ (usd) [ aprox :Rs 10400]

Chlorine can be sold at $220 to $240 per ton

Hydrogen @ $2.60/kg [This is quite old data]

I know chemical business is not a simple one. We need complex market analysis and ecomomic analysis in feasibility study.

“But we do not want to do financial analysis when we see dreams.” This is the answer which were given to one of our student by Indian professor. That student ask about financial feasibility of biogas system.

Monday, May 26, 2008

14 Toyota Way Principles

Principle 1.

Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals.

Principle 2.

Create continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface.

Principle 3.

Use “pull” systems to avoid overproduction.

Principle 4.

Level out the workload (heijunka). (Work like the tortoise, not the hare.)

Principle 5.

Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time.

Principle 6.

Standardized tasks are the foundation for continuous improvement and employee empowerment.

Principle 7.

Use visual control so no problems are hidden.

Principle 8.

Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes.

Principle 9.

Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others.

Principle 10.

Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your company’s philosophy.

Principle 11.

Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve.

Principle 12.

Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation (genchi genbutsu).

Principle 13.

Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly (nemawashi).

Principle 14.

Become a learning organization through relentless reflection (hansei) and continuous improvement (kaizen).

Read an executive summery on 14 ways of Toyota Way

Mind Map on Global Warming

I found some interesting mind map on Global Warming.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

MAS ECO-Friendly Plant

MAS holding has initiated eco friendly manufacturing facility in order to save environment in very sustainable way. This eco-plant belongs to MAS Intimates cluster and it has following features to be environmental friendly.

  • The biggest installation of solar panels to date in Sri Lanka, which will provide around 10% of the total electricity required for the plant.
  • The remaining electricity will be mini-hydro, sourced through a green power agreement
  • The use of extensive daylight to help light the premises
  • Energy efficient lighting and LED based task lights reduce the energy used for lighting
  • Low energy cooling systems to replace air conditioning in addition to other cooling measures such as green roofs (roof with vegetation on top), cool roofs (roof with high solar reflectivity), and strategically positioned courtyards with wide arrays of greenbelts to cool the micro climate
  • The use of eco bricks in construction to help maintain a cool interior

Read More about MAS holdings

OHSAS 18001 - 2007 - Occupational health and safety management systems - requirements

OHSAS 18001 Certificate

OHSAS is one of major occupational and safety certification and OHSAS 18001 - 2007 - Occupational health and safety management systems - requirements pdf file will give you wide scope on requirements which should be implemented before getting OHSAS certification.

Download many ebooks (free membership required)

Aspen Hysis Tutorial and Applications

This pdf provide you better guide on Hysis simulation software. It contains tutorials for Gas processing, chemicals and refining. It describe Hysis Applications such as G1 Acid Gas Sweetening with DEA, Atmospheric crude tower, sour water stripper, Propylene/Propane
Splitter, Synthesis Gas Production, Ethanol plant ... etc.

Download many ebooks (free membership required)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Comprehensive guide on engineering and scientific calculation using Matlab tool. Excellent as a self-teaching guide for professionals as well as a textbook for students, Engineering and Scientific Computations Using MATLAB helps you fully understand the MATLAB environment, build your skills, and apply its features to a wide range of applications. Going beyond traditional MATLAB user manuals and college texts, Engineering and Scientific Computations Using MATLAB guides you through the most important aspects and basics of MATLAB programming and problem-solving from fundamentals to practice.

You can download many matlab resources by joining with our chemical engineers network

Friday, May 2, 2008

Identify Quality, Environmental and Safety policies of Shell

Introduction to Shell

Shell is a global group of company. It has spread over 130 countries and directly an employer of 108000 people worldwide. Shell is a global leader in energy and petrochemical industry. In present day it is highly depend on non-renewable based product but they haves strongly entered and captured the upcoming renewable energy market shares already. Honesty, integrity and respect have formed the basis of their core principles in business for many years of their history and they will continue it further. Following mission and vision statement describes their core values.

To safely market and distribute energy and petrochemical products while offering innovative value added services.

Vision Statement

We make the difference through our people, a team of dedicated professionals, who value our customers, deliver on our promises and contribute to sustainable development.

There business can be classified into several key areas such as

  • Exploration & Production
  • Gas & Power
  • Oil Products
  • Chemicals
  • Other industry segments and Corporate (include our Renewables and Hydrogen businesses and CO2 co-ordination activities.)
Shell Quality, Environmental and Safety effort and success at a glance

Shell environmental protecting effort

Picture says thousand words

This is the Winner of the Shell Eco-marathon 2006. This biofuel-powered prototype won the game with an energy consumption equivalent to 2885 km/l of petrol.

Joint venture of Shell Wind Energy and power company Nuon, which is situated in Netherland. This 108 MW wind farm supplies enough carbon-free power for more than 100,000 Dutch homes, saving around 140,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. This is wonderful case in renewable energy industry. These offshore windmills were installed using experiences and technology, which developed for extract of non-renewable petroleum oil.

Anyone knows that bio fuel technology has major challenges to face.

  • · Reduce CO2 Emission in production life cycle
  • · Make them cheaper to reach average consumer
  • · Use sources that do not compete for land with food production (because about 25000 people dies per day due to hunger)

Shell is fighting with these challenges. They have join with Iogen Corporation, which owns a international patent for an enzyme to produce cellulose ethanol from straw. Shell is one of proud investors in Iogen Corporation among other investors such as Goldman Sachs and USA energy department (funding with $385 millions).

As basically petrochemical company they have directly and indirectly involved in many environmental in-balances in global scale. They have accepted that and work continuously to reduce it. They have step in to green energy sources such as wind, bio fuels … etc. While been in top tire of the petrochemical industry, they have realized the weakness and future potentials in renewable and environmental business practices.

Capturing and using the natural gas produced during oil production, improving energy efficiency in our refineries, chemical plants and production facilities and many other steps have been taken to cut polluting streams including their green house gas emissions.

Shell Quality

Clean and efficient engines are inseparably linked with high quality fuel. GTL (Gas-to-Liquids Fuel) fuel is colourless, odourless and virtually sulphur-free. Made from natural gas using pioneering Shell technology, it can be blended with diesel and used in existing modern engines. Shell joined hand with famous auto manufacturer Volkswagen and continue their effort towards high quality auto fuels.

Shell word hard on delivering sulphur-free auto fuels into commercial scale. Actually they have reached zero sulphur level in their auto fules.

In 2006, Shell investment in research and development, including field tests and involvement in third-party technologies, increased to $1.2 billion. Shell company recruited over 3,000 technical professionals and opened a major new Technology Centre in Bangalore, India.

Quality of the product delivering is vital for business growth as well as to be meet triple bottom line sustainability. In order to meet stakeholders’ unlimited requirement with the minimum available resource concentration on quality issues are important. Shell pay very good attention and as well as very high price for their continuous improvement of their business.

Shell Safety Aspects

All operations of Shell involves 108,000 permanent employees and approximately 300,000 contractors. Their goal is zero fatalities. The 2006 shell data says that there are 37 fatalities (2 permanent employees and 35 contactors), only 20 fatalities due to operational practices and other 17 are due political violence, kidnappings and assaults by third parties. With applying environment, safety and health aspects they could have approached continuous improvement in reduction of fatalities













Injuries - total reportable case frequency (TRCF)






Deep Learning

Once there was a fatality in any operation they thoroughly analyze the reason. They call it “Deep Learning”. Shell had two fatalities in Brent Bravo platform in the North Sea in year 2003. They continue their investigations up to year 2006 and accept the reasons behind the tragedy.

Fatalities are not numbers, they are most cause losses of lives or permanent disabilities. Injuries are not percentages or duration of working hours. Those are the hours an employee or contractor suffer with that injuries.

Shell have understand the importance of the safety and with the deep learning over case studies they every day increase the awareness of accidents and implement strong safe environment by providing safety equipments, operator training, driver awareness


Chemical Engineering forum

There are many chemical engineering forums and I started a new chemical engineering forum which gives user a very user friendly environment with many other options such as blogging , poll creation, photo album creation etc.

My social network has began to expand and it is becoming popular. I think it will be very usefully feature for chemical engineers to share their information. This is an effort like "dow connect social network" which try to bridge information gap between chemical engineering professionals.

Join with it

Safety of Dryer operation (a chemical engineering application)

Safety aspects are given priority is chemical engineering design, since it is a legal and moral obligation to safeguard the health and welfare of its employees and the general public. Safety is also good design practice needed to ensure safe operation will also ensure efficient operation.

Safety in process design can be considered under the following precautions.

· Identification and assessment of the hazards

· Control of the hazards

· Control of the process

· Limitation of the loss

Identification and assessment of the hazards

All manufacturing processes are to some extent hazardous, but in chemical processes there are additional, special, hazards associated with the chemicals used and the process conditions. The drying process of Cassava starch and poly lactic acid does not posses any chemical hazard but it is having risks with process condition.

Operators, supervisors, maintenance crew and labours can face following safety hazardous while operating, inspecting, maintaining and cleaning.

· Contact with hot surface [Most case operators, supervisors and labours]

· Exposure to steam leaks [Most case operators, maintenance crew and labours]

· Electrical shocks [Most case operators and maintenance crew]

· Hack by moving parts such as drum, belts, and wheels [Most case operators, maintenance crew and labours]

Control of the hazards and the process

Implementing proper safety control systems against above safety hazardous will reduce the near miss causes, injuries and fatalities. The hot surfaces cannot be avoided in dryers. However hot surfaces can be isolated with fences, heat insulations, heat guards, covers … etc. Steam pipes should be insulated mainly to avoid heat losses and on the other hand, it will eliminate hot surfaces. Glass wool layer and aluminum foil is ideal for insulating steam pipes.

Proper maintaining and inspection of steam valve, joints, previous vulnerable points in steam distribution system will avoid sudden steam leaks, one of deadliest risk in dryer operation.

Electrical shocks can be eliminated through proper wiring, standard insulation and installing circuit break switches.

Moving parts cannot be eliminated from any operation; however, risk of hacking with moving objects can be eliminated through isolated with fences, guards, covers

Limitation of the loss

Control of the hazards and the process will reduce risk up to some extent. However in order to limit losses due to accidents advanced safety measures must be taken. Operators, supervisors, maintenance crew and labours must be equipped with required occupational safety equipments such as gloves, goggles, shoes …etc. Following list will brief the required equipments for connected operation activities.


Connected operation activity

Safety equipment



Eye Goggles



Eye Goggles, Gloves, Shoes

Maintenance crew

Repairing and trouble shooting

Gloves, Shoes, insulated tools, Eye Goggles



Eye Goggles, Dust masks

Purpose of each safety Equipment

Safety equipment


Eye Goggles

Protect eyes from steam splashes, dust particles, metal scraps, …etc


Project hands against hot surfaces, sharp edges


Project foots from damages, Protect from electrical shocks

insulated tools

Protect from electrical shocks

Dust masks

Protect respiratory system from poor ambient air quality

Providing safety equipments and taking safety controls is not sufficient. Increasing awareness on safety practices among employees will ensure a better working environment with minimum accidents. Occupational safety seminars, presentations, discussions, notices, posters, banners are some of better mediums to increase awareness among employees.

EHS coordinator of the plant should inspect installed safety measures, awareness and usability of safety equipments, near misses and accident rates of the process and must take proper measures to eliminate weakness in occupational safety environment.